Heather O'Brien: Inspired to Improve

Just as I took on a very new and very challenging career move, my very active and healthy girlfriend died suddenly for no apparent reason. I had had been overweight and underactive for a long time, and decided to take some inspiration from the way Gaye had lived her life to improve upon my own. I had also inherited her rowing machine, so I needed to kick start the drive to use it.
I walked in looking for a personal trainer. I met Mel right away, and immediately recognized that Mel could motivate me without making me feel ashamed of my abysmal starting point. My impressions haven’t changed….now I’ve met three female personal trainers who all make me feel the same way….motivated, confident, and able to continue to make steady progress.
Deciding to start walking daily…I quickly progressed to 5 km most days, and with that a lot of extra weight started to come off. Although weight loss hasn’t been my primary goal, carrying around extra pounds is demoralizing, and actually makes it tough to have fun exercising or using your body for the sake of enjoying the activity. I never would have taken that step without a year of working with Mel’s encouragement on the basics.
I started running in June, after thinking of myself as incapable of running my entire life. I ran the 5K in the Terry Fox run with the OR Suitehearts team, and have now started to push my distance up to 10 km once per week. I’ve signed up for a 10K run in the Spring, so that’s my immediate exercise goal for now, but the whole point is to get to a level where I can join any of my friends on any of our favorite outdoor activities and not hold anyone back. Another 15 pounds off and a half marathon might just do it in the longer term.
My favorite Catalyst memory? Yet to come probably. Anything but burpees? Probably the first time I did a (assisted) chin-up was the most exciting. Realizing that at fifty-something you can now do things that you couldn’t do as a younger person is really amazing. I also really enjoy bumping into my friends and colleagues there who are Catalyst clients too.

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